Welcome to my guided ghost tour. Come alone and walk with me.
First stop — this old store. Built in 1873, and still standing strong, it serves as a memorial to what’s come and gone through the years. Its complete history known only to itself, the store remains a mystery to those who currently possess it. Just let me get the skeleton key in the door — there we go. Enter please, if you will, I’ll be right behind you.
A hardware store in another incarnation, a department store, then reborn as a baby store, it was rejuvenated again for a time. Generations throughout the decades have entered through these doors, in search of material goods, leaving behind a small part of themselves and their own history within these aging walls. But as of late, fewer souls wander in from the world outside to partake of our hospitality. Glad you’re here, come right on in.
Shadows greet us, but not to worry, it’s just the streetlights shining in causing that eerie effect. It’s innocent enough, you’ll see, just let me get the lights.
First floor, retail sales. Quiet now it seems, just a wee bit spooky in the night. See anything you like? Walk on through, it’s quite the maze with all these rooms, bigger than it looks from outside looking in, isn’t it? Easy to get lost, but I know every nook and cranny, I’ve been here for years, you’re safe with me to guide you. Bear with me while I check the closets, storeroom, bathrooms, under shelves, and in dark corners before we head upstairs. Force of habit, that’s all.
Watch your step, now, these creaky stairs are tricky. The living quarters on the second floor are empty now, though her essence lingers. Fear her not, her spirit is a welcome comfort, her gentle soul will protect you from harm amongst the memories and the shadows that dwell here.
A home for a century and a half of families, what stories it could tell if it could only speak! It clearly shows its age, many years of experience evident with its wrinkled carpets and faded wallpaper, ceilings bending over and floors barely standing up. Nothing exciting here to see, just the remnants of lives cherished, and love lost.
Should you feel something brush against you or hear the tinkling of chimes, don’t fret. The mind hallucinates, enveloped by voices of the past.
What’s that? No, I didn’t feel anything passing through, don’t let your imagination get the best of you.
Oh dear, I should have mentioned the wind rattles something fierce through these old windows — so sorry it made you jump.
Yes, it does get rather chilly here at night.
Those sounds? Just the building settling, you get that with these old places, it’s fine.
Great view through the windows, isn’t it? The ghost town down below sleeps on, oblivious to what’s happening here. Now outside this door here, you’ll find a lovely patio, steps leading to the street.
Wait…don’t leave just yet! It’s barely midnight. Hear the old clock strike? Remember what you came for. I’ve saved the best for last.
I’m sure you’re curious to see what lies in the basement. They say curiosity killed the cat. Hope you haven’t used up all your nine lives just yet. I don’t usually venture there alone, you’ll see why, but since you’ve come, we must complete our tour. Follow me back downstairs, and around the corner. There’s the door to the old cellar. Unlatch the bolt and open wide.
Dark? Afraid so, but your eyes will adjust.
Best hold my hand, though, no railing here, no safety net. These worn wooden steps show the indentations of those who dared descend before us.
Creepy? Yes, that’s why I’m never down here on my own. Great locale for a horror flick, don’t you think?
Take no notice of the bricked-in windows. To the right sits the old cistern. Careful now, it’s quite deep. Through this door sits a pile of rubble, ruins of an old foundation, rocks piled high, not sure what lies buried there.
No, no, it’s okay, it’s just the dampness making the lights flicker.
This way now, deeper into the belly of this beastly old mausoleum. Our last stop.
Yes, that door leads out, but I’m afraid it’s padlocked from the outside. The only way out is through me.
You’re looking rather peaked, turning white, I fear. I should have given warning before I lured you here — but you came of your own volition — what did you expect to see? It’s the unexpected spectres that harm more than they haunt. Looks like you’ll be joining us, transforming into one of us.
Did no one ever warn you about ghost walks on Halloween?
Ivanka Fear is a Slovenian born Canadian writer. Her poems and stories appear in numerous publications, including Understorey, The South Shore Review, Blank Spaces, Montreal Writes, Orchards Poetry, October Hill, Mystery Tribune, and elsewhere. The debut novel of her Blue Water mystery series is scheduled for release by Level Best Books in January 2023.